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State Retirement Pension

Key information

State Retirement Pension is money paid to people who have reached state pension age. 

Applies to: England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

Age rules: If you are a woman born on or after 6 April 1950, or a man born on or after 6 April 1953, the age when you can claim your state pension is increasing and will depend on your date of birth.

You can work out the exact date of your state pension age by using the state pension age calculator (link opens in a new window) on the Directgov website. 

Type of benefit: Non means tested

Taxable: Yes

Administered by: The Pension Service



You can read through this information sheet, or go directly to the sections you want to read by clicking on these links:

Who does it help?

You need to have paid enough national insurance contributions to get State Retirement Pension. If you have not paid enough yourself, you might be covered by your husband or wife's or civil partner's contributions. Once you reach 80 you may qualify for SRP even if you have not paid enough national insurance contributions.

You can get State Retirement Pension even if you are still working. 

You can decide not to claim your state pension when you reach state pension age. This is called deferring your pension.  If you do this, you can either get extra weekly pension when you do claim it or a lump sum plus your weekly pension at the normal rate.

If you are on a low income, Pension Credit could top up your weekly income to a guaranteed minimum.

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How much does it pay?

Basic State Retirement Pension

The full basic State Retirement Pension is £113.10 a week (£115.95 from April 2015). If you have not paid enough national insurance contributions to get SRP at retirement age, you can still get £67.80 a week (£69.50 from April 2015) when you reach 80 years of age.

It used to be possible to claim an increase in your State Retirement Pension for someone else who depends on you financially, such as a husband, wife or civil partner. This increase stopped on 6 April 2010. If you were already receiving the increase before this date, you will be able to keep it until you either no longer qualify for the addition, or until 5 April 2020, whichever comes first.

If you receive State Retirement Pension you also qualify for a Christmas Bonus each year. This is usually £10. You do not need to make a claim for the bonus it is paid automatically. It does not affect any other benefits you might get.

Additional pension - second state pension

You might get an 'additional pension' an extra amount known as state second pension (S2P). This depends on your national insurance contributions. This was previously known as 'SERPS' (State Earnings Related Pension). Any additional pension built up under SERPS will not be lost.

State pension forecast

You can get a forecast of how much you will receive by visiting the GOV.UK website (link opens in a new window) or calling 0845 300 0168

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How do I make a claim?

The Pension Service should contact you around four months before you reach state pension age and explain how to claim.

Online Claim

Claim online on the Department for Work and Pensions website (link opens in a new window)

Telephone Claim

Phone the Pension Service:

Telephone: 0800 731 7898
Textphone: 0800 731 7339
Welsh Language Line: 0800 731 7936
Textphone: 0800 731 7013

Paper Claim

Download a claim form from the GOV.UK website (link opens in a new window)

In Northern Ireland

Claim online on the NI Direct website (link opens in a new window)

Phone the Pension Service:

Telephone: 0808 100 2658
Textphone: 0808 100 2198

If you do not want to claim when you reach state pension age, you can claim at any time later.

If you want to claim because you are 80 and you did not qualify before, The Pension Service will usually contact you. If not, you can contact the Pension Service or, in Northern Ireland, the Social Security Agency.

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Can it be backdated?

State Retirement Pension can be backdated for up to 12 months if you would have been entitled to it earlier. It does not matter why your claim is late. Request this when claiming.

If your claim is made more than 12 months after you become entitled, you will be treated as having deferred your pension.

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Challenging decisions

If you disagree with the decision made on your benefit claim you can ask for a written statement of reasons. If you still believe the decision is wrong, for example due to incorrect information being used, you can ask for it to be looked at again, and/or appeal.

The time limits are strict, you will usually be given one month to dispute a decision, so it is important to seek advice and act quickly.

Further information on Challenges and complaints

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Change of circumstance

You must report changes in your circumstances which might affect your entitlement to this benefit

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New Single Tier State Pension

The Government is introducing a flat rate (single tier) State Pension for people who reach state pension age from 6 April 2016.

The single tier pension will be a flat rate without the additions and complexities of the current system, and without the right to inherit or get rights to a pension on the basis of your spouse or civil partner's contributions.

The rate will be more than the basic means-tested support currently available, the guarantee part of Pension Credit, which is £148.35 per week for a single pensioner and £226.50 for a couple.

To qualify for the full single tier pension you will need 35 qualifying years of National Insurance contributions (NICs) or credits. If you don't qualify for the full pension you can get a smaller amount based on how many qualifying years you have. However, you will need a minimum of between seven and ten years.

If you qualify for the single tier pension you will not be able to get the savings credit part of Pension Credit.

If you are already over State Pension age when this is introduced you will continue to receive your State Retirement Pension under the current system and can continue to get the savings credit part of Pension Credit if you are entitled to it.

As part of a campaign to raise awareness of the single-tier state pension, the DWP says that a statement service will provide people with a personalised written estimate of what they can expect to receive under the new system based on their national insurance contributions and work history to date.

The statement service will initially be available to the approximately 2.5m people who reach state pension age in the first five years of the new scheme (April 2016 and August 2021).

For more information, see the Age UK information on What the new pension reforms mean for you (link opens in a new window)

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Last updated: 3 March 2015

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